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Ryder Cup: Robert MacIntyre on childhood dream and taking a break from shinty

MacIntyre won the 2022 Italian Open on the Ryder Cup course
MacIntyre won the 2022 Italian Open on this year's Ryder Cup host Marco Simone

Making Europe's Ryder Cup team for the first time "means everything" to Scotland's Robert MacIntyre.

The left-hander from Oban has even put playing shinty on hold to avoid any injury scares before the biennial contest with the United States in Rome.

MacIntyre, 27, made sure of his place by wrapping up the final spot on the European points list at the weekend.

Now he can't wait to get started at Marco Simone from 29 September-1 October.

"It means everything," MacIntyre told BBC Scotland. "It's the reason I play golf at this level. It's the reason I work most days, to achieve dreams like this.

"There were days playing as a kid with pals when you'd say 'this putt is to win The Open or the Ryder Cup'. But, when you come from a small town, you never see people do it.

"To make it is absolutely massive. It just proves no matter where you come from you can do big things."

MacIntyre has continued playing shinty since turning professional, which allows him to unwind and catch up with family and friends.

But the caman is safely tucked away and has been for most of the summer as he focused on chasing the points required to secure his place in Rome.

"I've not played any shinty since The Open," he revealed. "It's a massive part of me and for my family, but I won't be involved again until the Ryder Cup is done. I'll still go down to training and see the boys for a laugh."

MacIntyre rocketed up the standings in July with an impressive second-place finish at the Scottish Open, where he lost out by a shot to world number two Rory McIlroy.

"That was big," he said of his performance at The Renaissance Club. "It was almost the best week of my life, I was just a couple of shots away, but, if it wasn't for that week I wouldn't be in this position."

McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick were the other automatic European qualifiers.

They have now been joined by captain Luke Donald's wildcard picks - Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Sepp Straka and Ludvig Aberg.

"They're going to support me and I'm going to try and support them and I'll pull things from their brains if I can," MacIntyre said of his team-mates.

There may be some questions to the Scot too, given he has won at Marco Simone.

MacIntyre was the Italian Open champion in 2022, beating Fitzpatrick in a play-off, although he had to withdraw after the first round of this year's event with a back strain.

"It's a massive driving course," he said. "Tee to green, it's huge, with long rough and I expect the greens will be slightly slower than we're used to, to try and favour us. It's a tough old course."

MacIntyre is the first Scotsman to make the team since Stephen Gallacher was on the winning side at Gleneagles in 2014.

"He sent me a nice message," said MacIntyre of Gallacher. "I'm sure I'll pick his brains too, but I don't think anything will prepare me for that first tee in Rome, the nerves, the crowd.

"The hype comes from the outside world, so I just need to go and play my game. If I do that well enough I'll be happy.

"We're going to Italy to win the Ryder Cup back for Europe."

'MacIntyre attitude made for fourballs' - analysis

Iain Carter, BBC golf correspondent

He loves the team environment from his shinty.

He's an infectious personality, with a go-for-it attitude, which I think is made for the fourballs.

He brings energy and a fair amount of confidence after coming through a difficult summer very impressively.